Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Flickering Shadows

The shortlist for this year's National Television Awards has been released this week and the likes of Bodyguard, Doctor Who and killing Eve are all up for prizes. Richard Madden has been nominated for the Best Drama Performance award, facing stiff competition from the likes of Jodie Comer, Cillian Murphy, Jodie Whittaker and Michelle Keegan. Bodyguard received another nomination in the new category of Best New Drama. Also in contention for the New Drama category are Killing Eve, A Discovery Of Witches, Girlfriends and The Cry. The shortlist also sees Ant and/or Dec received yet another Best Presenter nomination despite the former having spent most of the year not, actually, being part of the duo and missing I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want) entirely. Although the fact that Wor Geet canny Ant's nomination has been 'slammed' (that's tabloidese for 'criticised' only with less syllables) by that odious oily twat Piers Morgan is, frankly, in and of itself reason enough for Wor Geet Canny Ant to be nominated. Saturday Night Takeaway has been nominated for The Bruce Forsyth Memorial Entertainment Award alongside I'm A Z-List Former Celebrity Desperate To Get My Boat-Race Back On TV ... Please Vote For Me To Stay Here As Long As Possible (I'll Even Eat Worms If You Want), All Round To Mrs Brown's, The Graham Norton Show and Z-List Love Island. Unlike the acting categories, the TV Judge category is an all-male shortlist this year - with David Walliams, Louis Tomlinson, Robbie Williams, Robert Rinder and Wee Shughie McFee, the sour-faced Scottish chef off Crossroads all in contention. Alongside Bodyguard and Killing Eve, the shortlist is a good result for Doctor Who, which has, in addition to the recognition of Jodie Whittaker, also been additionally nominated for the Best Drama award. Peaky Blinders and Our Girl are both nominated for the same category along with Call the Midwife and Casualty.
Michael McIntyre may have won the BBC Christmas Day overnights battle, but it seems that Call The Midwife won the war. The drama topped the consolidated Seven Day-plus ratings for 25 December, attracting 8.94 million viewers across all platforms, ahead of the overnight winner, Michael McIntyre's Big Christmas Show, which had a final Seven Day-plus 7.65 million. Call The Midwife's 3.4 million timeshift increase is a huge jump from the popular drama's initial overnight figures of 5.5 million which saw it only finish fourth in the overnight rankings. Its audience was made up of 8.72 million watching on TV and an additional two hundred and twenty thousand on PCs, tabelts and smartphones. It seems that a lot of viewers watched the episode on catch-up, something they were less keen on doing with The Queen's Christmas Day message, which initially topped the ratings when all of its various broadcasts across three different channels were added together but, which ended up fourth overall with 7.1 million. Ahead of that was the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas special with 7.56 million viewers, while Zog jumped from tenth to sixth place with a fraction over seven million. Mrs Brown's Boys also fared much better in the final ratings as compared to the overnights, increasing its viewership by two million to 6.84 million. Coronation Street beat EastEnders in consolidated ratings after initially losing to the BBC soap, though it was pretty close with the two soaps being watched by 6.82 million and 6.80 million respectively. It certainly appears that not as many people were watching TV live this festive period as in previous years and, as the consolidated figures for Christmas Day proves, streaming can really make the difference when the final ratings come in.
Things We Learned from the New Year's Day episode of Only Connect. The show's wall connection-setter was, clearly, havin' a right laugh, it would seem!
This blogger is not quite sure which was the greatest turn-on during the recently concluded series of Luther, one of From The North's favourite actresses, Ruth Wilson, playing her standard completely-mad-murderess or another of From The North's favourite actresses, Hermione Norris, playing somewhat against type a completely-mad-murderer's-accomplice-and-wife.
'Viewers of Idris Elba's gritty crime drama have been left in the dark thanks to visuals steeped in "barely watchable gloom,"' according to some sneering, anonymous stringer at the BBC News website. And, by 'viewers', this odious fraction of an individual means 'half-a-dozen whinging malcontents on Twitter.' Twitter now being, of course, The Sole Arbiter Of The Worth Of All Things. At least, according to the Gruniad Morning Star. Journalist Kate Bevan - whoever the Hell she is - wasn't the only one annoyed. 'For god['s] sake BBC turn the electric on,' another viewer whinged. A BBC spokesperson 'did not comment on the show's alleged murkiness,' the article continues. Tragically, it did not go on to state that the BBC was, collectively, Goddamn pissed-off at the monstrous disloyalty shown to it by the staff member who presented this abject bollocks as 'news' and the BBC News editor who saw fit to accept this non-story as worthy of publication on the website. Nor, sadly, did the BBC 'comment' on the fact that the pair of them were currently clearly out their desks and were about to be escorted from the building and told only to come back when they'd researched what the word 'loyalty' means. An opportunity missed, one could suggest.
'Some little girls grow up wanting ponies. I always wanted to be a widow!' Many fans begged for it and the BBC have delivered. Two of the small screen's greatest psychopaths finally meet in a new mash-up clip of Luther's Alice Morgan and Killing Eve's Villanelle released on Twitter. In it, Villanelle talks about her murder technique to Alice.
Killing Eve will be picking up from that astounding cliffhanger sooner than expected. The long-awaited second series of the thriller - From The North's favourite TV show of 2018 - will be arriving on BBC America on Sunday 7 April. BBC1 has not yet announced when the series will be arriving on UK screens, but Director of Content Charlotte Moore has promised that fans won't have to wait 'quite so long' as they did for series one. Along with the US premiere date, BBC America has also confirmed that the second series picks up a whopping 'thirty six seconds' after the end of previous episode - which concluded with MI5 officer Eve (Sandra Oh) stabbing Villanelle (Jodie Comer) after a series-long pursuit. Somehow Villanelle managed to slip through Eve's fingers once again and get away, in spite of the serious flesh wound. An official synopsis says: 'Eve is left reeling, having no idea if the woman she stabbed is alive or dead. With both of them in deep trouble, Eve has to find Villanelle before someone else does. But unfortunately, she's not the only person looking for her.' Jodie Comer has previously promised that viewers will see 'a different side' of Villanelle in the second series, as she grapples with the moral complexities of killing. 'People's questions about Villanelle are always: does she have emotions; does she have morals?' Comer recently told the Gruniad Morning Star. 'You know, we have these glimpses of her maybe feeling something, but what is it? What is it that we don't know? That's definitely something that we've explored in series two, whether she is battling with her conscience - what's under there?'
Two of the most important leaders in Westeros finally meet in a new trailer for Game Of Thrones' forthcoming eighth and final series. The promo for all of HBO's 2019 programming premiered during the Golden Globe Awards on Sunday and offered a sneak preview of Big Little Lies, Watchmen, Veep and Euphoria. Some brief footage from Game Of Thrones was also featured, including Jon Snow bringing Daenerys to Winterfell to meet Sansa. There is also a shot of battle footage, as one of the dragons swoops in overhead to eviscerate the forces charging against Daenerys's alliance.
And, speaking of trailers, the BBC's recently released, and much admired, 'Drama 2019' complication includes an intriguing shot from the forthcoming fifth series of Peaky Blinders which has prompted all manner of online speculation.
From The North favourite Gotham's final series kicked-off last Thursday in the US in properly dramatic fashion as one major character lost their life before the end of the opening episode. Tabitha Galavan, played by Jessica Lucas, was extremely killed by The Penguin as she sought an opportunity to avenge the death of her boyfriend Butch. The Penguin's plans to scavenge supplies from a downed helicopter ahead of everybody else had been interrupted by Tabitha. 'Say hi to Butch for me,' Oswald taunted as he stabbed her to death. It was well-dramatic. There are eleven episodes remaining and the final series looks to continue the drama in this week's episode Trespassers.
The same night also saw the return to NBC of another From The North favourite, The Blacklist with a second episode of the espionage thriller's sixth series being shown on the following evening in its new, Friday 9pm, slot. Which was, almost certainly, the first time that Wire's 'I Am A Fly' had ever featured on the soundtrack of a primetime TV show!
Could this blogger's beloved The West Wing (the best TV show in the history of the medium that doesn't have the words 'Doctor' and 'Who' in the title) make a long-awaited comeback? One of its stars has admitted that he has talked to creator Aaron Sorkin about the possibility. The great Richard Schiff - who played one of the acclaimed and award-winning political drama's most loved characters, Communications Director Toby Ziegler - recently suggested the possibility of a revival, adding that he has already pitched his own ideas. 'Aaron has said he wanted it to happen,' Schiff said on the Popcorn Talk Network's I Could Never Be. 'He might go with a new administration, in which case, some of us might show up as consultants. It makes no sense, maybe one or two of us would be in The White House.' Schiff also mentioned that he would like to take the action outside of The White House, adding: 'Where does politics really happen? Especially in this era where there's such an excitement in the grassroots level and on the local level and it really all happens in the state level.' Elaborating on his own ideas, Schiff continued: 'I don't think it should be in The White House. I think that's overcooked. My image of a show in The White House now is something like House Of Cards, which is more apropos for the current administration - and Veep. You know, you combine Veep and House Of Cards and you got, you got this administration. It's a great idea.' Last year, Sorkin himself confirmed that he had been 'in discussions' about a possible West Wing revival with network NBC.
Grantchester is already set to see one big change when it returns to ITV for its fourth series with the departure of James Norton, but it could have all gone very differently. Speaking to the press ahead of the launch of series four, Wor Geet Canny Robson Green revealed that he had also considered quitting the show alongside Norton and added that if he had quit, the popular drama would not have returned at all. Wor Geet Canny Robson said: 'We had a chat, because we got the re-commission and there was loads of American money coming in and we thought, "Can we do it again?" [Norton] said, "I'll only do it if you do it" and vice-versa. "But I want to leave." So we discussed it. They said, "If you both leave, we can't do the series. So one of you has to stay. And we'll give you incentives to stay."' So, Wor Geet Canny Robson did decide to stay and, fortunately, it looks like he doesn't regret his decision, adding that he thinks the show's upcoming series is the best one yet. 'One of the incentives - I mean, seriously, I don't need the money. It was the writing and being part of something that's going to be carried forwards, that is going to be enjoyable and is going to be worthwhile to do,' he claimed. 'Otherwise, you're doing it for the wrong reasons. And I feel like I'm developing as an actor in series four. I think it's elevated and I think it's better. I do think this is the best series on many levels.' With Norton leaving the series, ITV is bringing in Tom Brittney as Grantchester's new, young parish priest Will Davenport, with Wor Geet Canny Robson explaining that the transition between Sidney leaving and Will's arrival is seen in 'a very powerful storyline. It’s beautifully woven into the season,' he added. 'That re-energises the show.'
The eighth series of Death In Paradise has welcomed a plethora of well-known TV faces to its guest cast. Officer Dwayne Myers - played by Danny John-Jules - may have left the Caribbean island for good, but it looks like the mystery drama has attracted some impressive talent to fill the gap. Radio Times suggests that the likes of Downton Abbey's Robert James-Collier, Call The Midwife actress Charlotte Ritchie and Blake Harrison, have all secured guest roles on the upcoming series. From The North favourite Rebecca Front will also be appearing alongside Holby City's Chizzy Akudolu and Richard Blackwood.
True Detective is returning to TV screens soon and new lead actor Mahershala Ali has promised that viewers are in for a treat, describing the upcoming third series as 'something special.' However, it sounds as though the filming of the series was a bit of a slog. 'I'm excited for people to see, everyone's work and commitment," Mahershala told ET. 'It was a gruelling shoot, I mean, it in the most positive [way]. It was a difficult shoot, but I think we really kind of stuck together and I think we did something special,' he continued. 'I'm so proud to be a part of that story and to have had that opportunity, so I'm really looking forward to people seeing that.' He also described the series as 'dense' and 'epic'. The story features actor as Wayne Hays, an Arkansas detective who is still haunted by a past case involving two missing children in the 1980s. The first series of the anthology series starred Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey and was From The North's favourite TV show of 2014, while the following year's second series featured Vince Vaughn, Colin Farrell and Rachel McAdams. That one wasn't anywhere near as popular with viewers and critics as the first, although this blogger still thought it had a reasonable amount going for it. Initial reviews of the third series are looking promising, with many critics praising the show's 'return to form.' But, according to Mahershala things 'could have been very different,' as he wasn't initially cast in the lead role and had to convince the production that the part should be his.
Olivia Colman, Christian Bale, Richard Madden and Ben Whishaw were among the winners at this year's prestigious Golden Globe Awards. Colly was honoured for the film The Favourite and Bale won for playing ex-US Vice-President Dick Cheney in Vice. Madden and Whishaw won TV awards for their roles in BBC dramas Bodyguard and A Very English Scandal respectively. Bohemian Rhapsody, about The Queen Group, won two big awards, including one for its star Rami Malek. The Golden Globes is the first major ceremony of the Hollywood awards season, and can often help a movie in the race for the Oscars. Colman was named best actress in a musical/comedy for her role as Queen Anne in The Favourite and she gave an endearingly excited acceptance speech that ended with her holding up her trophy and sending a message to her family: 'Ed and the kids - look! Yay!' Bale provided one of the night's most political moments when he thanked 'Satan' for inspiration for his role in Vice. Picking up his prize for best TV drama actor, Madden said: 'I didn't see this coming at all.' The Scottish acotr played Sergeant David Budd in BBC1's Bodyguard. The final episode was watched by more than seventeen million people in the UK - making it the UK's most watched episode of a TV drama since current records began in 2002. He used his speech to pay tribute to co-star Keeley Hawes, 'the best actress I could ever work with,' series creator Jed Mercurio and to his mother and father, who had flown from Scotland for the ceremony. Whishaw, meanwhile, dedicated his best actor in a TV limited series trophy to Norman Scott, the man he portrayed in Rusell Davies' A Very English Scandal. Scott was targeted in a failed murder plot allegedly hatched by the Liberal politician Jeremy Thorpe, played in the drama by Hugh Grant. Whishaw said that Scott 'took on the establishment with a courage and defiance that I find completely inspiring,' adding: 'He's a true queer hero, an icon and Norman, this is for you.' There was an award for Killing Eve, the unconventional crime drama written by Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge. That went to Sandra Oh who was named best actress in a TV drama - and also co-hosted the ceremony in Los Angeles. Musician Mark Ronson was another British winner, sharing the award for best song with Lady Gaga for 'Shallow', their anthemic hit from the film A Star Is Born.
Joanna Lumley will reportedly return as host of the British Academy film awards on 10 February. 'We're thrilled that Joanna has agreed to return as our host for a second year,' said Emma Baehr, BAFTA's director of awards. 'She was fantastic and we're looking forward to the ceremony with her once again at the helm.' The TV presenter and former actress took over last year from national treasure Stephen Fry, though her turn at the podium 'was met with mixed reviews' according to some shit of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star. 'Although the choice of a female host was applauded, many felt the script and jokes could have done with more polish.' Exactly who these 'many' people were, the author of this disgraceful piece of phlegm, one Catherine Shoard (no, me neither), does not reveal. The BAFTA rising star nominations were announced on 3 January, with the full nominations disclosed on 9 January.
And, speaking of the Gruniad Morning Star, their current bum-lick favourites Netflix has greatly upset its Middle Class hippy Communist fans by taking down an episode of a satirical comedy show which was critical of Saudi Arabia in the country after officials from the kingdom whinged, sparking criticism from Human Rights Watch, which said the act undermined the streaming service's 'claim to support artistic freedom.' It comes three months after the brutal killing of the Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi - which US senators have blamed on the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman - and as the war in Yemen continues to devastate the country. The American comedian Hasan Minhaj was critical of the Saudi heir in an episode of the Netflix stand-up show Patriot Act, delivering a wide-ranging monologue mocking the Saudis' evolving account of what happened inside the country's consulate in Istanbul in October, when the journalist was murdered. 'The Saudis were struggling to explain his disappearance: they said he left the consulate safely, then they used a body double to make it seem like he was alive,' Minhaj, an American-born Muslim of Indian descent, said. 'At one point they were saying he died in a fist fight, Jackie Chan-style. They went through so many explanations. The only one they didn't say was that Khashoggi died in a free solo rock-climbing accident.' He went on to specifically criticise Prince Mohammed, 'examining the connection' between the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen and the starvation and destruction that has unfolded in the Gulf state since 2015. Saudi Arabia has been condemned within the UN for the widespread bombing of civilian areas. Human Rights Watch said that artists whose work is broadcast on Netflix 'should be outraged,' adding that Saudi Arabia has 'no interest' in its citizens exercising democratic rights. Yes. And ... ? This isn't exactly news, guys. Saudi Arabia has a human rights reckon that makes China's look almost half-way decent by comparison and you've only just discovered they're not a very nice bunch of people when they've forced a broadcaster to remove a comedy programme critical of them? Welcome to the party. 'Every artist whose work appears on Netflix should be outraged that the company has agreed to censor a comedy show because the thin-skinned royals in Saudi complained about it,' a spokesperson said. But, of course, they won't. They might make a few noises in support of freedom of expression but, when push comes to shove, they'll probably be more concerned about their bank balance. It's the way of the world. 'Netflix's claim to support artistic freedom means nothing if it bows to demands of government officials who believe in no freedom for their citizens – not artistic, not political, not comedic,' Human Rights Watch added. Minhaj became the senior correspondent on Comedy Central's The Daily Show in 2014 and appeared as the coveted featured speaker at the White House correspondents' dinner in 2017. For what it's worth, this blogger think's he's a brilliant, inventive and very very funny comedian and this blogger's message to him is, 'if they're trying to ban you, you're probably doing something right.' Netflix defended its decision, stressing that it was 'in response' to 'a valid legal request' from the kingdom's communications and information technology commission, to which it acceded 'in order to comply with local law. We strongly support artistic freedom worldwide and only removed this episode in Saudi Arabia after we had received a valid legal request - and to comply with local law,' the company weaselled to the Financial Times. It added that the Saudi telecoms regulator 'cited a cyber-crime law' which states that 'production, preparation, transmission, or storage of material impinging on public order, religious values, public morals, and privacy, through the information network or computers' is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine not exceeding eight hundred thousand dollars. Plus a damned good dose of the cane. Probably. Of course, you have to pay good money for that sort of thing in the West. The episode can still be seen in other parts of the world - and in Saudi Arabia on YouTube - 'yet it is likely to raise pressing new questions about the limits of free online expression and the responsibility of Western companies to uphold liberal values,' according to the Gruniad. Who, seemingly, find themselves hugely conflicted in having to criticise their beloved Netflix over anything, even appeasement of torturing, murdering bastards. Time to make up your mind which side you're on, Gruniad. Karen Attiah, Khashoggi's editor at the Washington Post, said it was 'outrageous' that Netflix had 'caved to pressure' from the Saudis. 'Hasan Minhaj of Patriot Act has been a strong, honest and [funny] voice challenging Saudi Arabia and Mohammed bin Salman in the wake of Khashoggi's murder,' she tweeted. 'He brought awareness about Yemen. Quite outrageous that Netflix has pulled one of his episodes critical of Saudi Arabia. When Jamal Khashoggi wrote about the need for free expression in the Arab world (and everywhere), that freedom is not just about journalists. It's about freedom for artists, comedians, cartoonists, musicians, activists and anyone who wants to express their views on society.' The NGO Reporters Without Borders in October ranked Saudi Arabia one hundred and sixty ninth out of one hundred and eighty countries for press freedom, adding that 'it will very probably fall even lower in the 2019 index because of the gravity of the violence and abuses of all kinds against journalists.' The Saudi information ministry did not respond to requests for comment. Although the person that asked for a comment was later spotted wandering round Riyadh with a couple fewer hands than he'd had earlier. As The New Yorker's Robin Wright wrote in a fantastically angry op-ed piece, In Netflix's Censorship of Hasan Minhaj, Money Mattered More Than Murder. The Gruniad's own follow-up article, Think Riyadh's Netflix ban was bad? Imagine if Hasan Minhaj was a Saudi citizen should win some sort of journalistic award for 'stating the bleeding obvious.' Minhaj himself gave an articulate and dignified response to the furore when he tweeted: 'Clearly, the best way to stop people from watching something is to ban it, make it trend online and then leave it up on YouTube.' He added: 'Let's not forget that the world's largest humanitarian crisis is happening in Yemen right now' and urged supporters to donate to the relief effort of the International Rescue Committee.
Bryan Cranston has defended playing a disabled character in his latest film, saying his casting as a man with quadriplegia was 'a business decision.' In The Upside, the actor plays a wheelchair-using billionaire who hires a former criminal, played by Kevin Hart, to be his live-in carer. 'As actors we're asked to play other people,' said the Breaking Bad star. Cranston said the subject was 'worthy for debate' and there should be 'more opportunities' for disabled actors. But, he maintained that he was 'entitled' to play characters whose attributes and abilities differed from his own. 'If I, as a straight, older person and I'm wealthy, I'm very fortunate, does that mean I can't play a person who is not wealthy, does that mean I can't play a homosexual?' he mused. 'I don't know, where does the restriction apply, where is the line for that?' he told the Press Association. Cranston's comments come in the wake of ongoing debate over whether it is 'appropriate' for straight actors to play gay or transgender roles or for white actors to play characters traditionally associated with ethnic minorities. Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, the odious shit Jack Whitehall and Ed Skrein are among those who have faced criticism for accepting certain roles. Some have gone on to withdraw from projects following a backlash. Last month the actor Darren Criss said that he would no longer accept LGBT scripts because he did not want to be 'another straight boy taking a gay man's role.' The Glee actor played a gay serial killer in American Crime Story: The Assassination Of Gianni Versace, a performance that won him an EMMY in December and a Golden Globe on Sunday. Ben Whishaw expressed similar sentiments to Cranston's on Sunday after winning a Golden Globe for playing Norman Scott in A Very English Scandal. 'I really believe that actors can embody and portray anything and we shouldn't be defined only by what we are,' said the openly gay actor. 'On the other hand, I think there needs to be greater equality,' he continued. 'I would like to see more gay actors playing straight roles. It should be an even playing field for everybody. That would be my ideal.'
A man who stalked a BBC presenter with letters in which he threatened to rape her has been very jailed. Gordon Hawthorn, of Street in Somerset, sent the threats to Points West's Alex Lovell over the course of six years. Lovell started suffering panic attacks as a result of the threats, which included claims that Hawthorn was watching her closely enough 'to smell her hair.' At Bristol Crown Court the judge, Martin Picton, said Hawthorn left Lovell 'frightened and miserable.' Lovell began receiving Hawthorn's cards at the BBC's regional centre in Bristol, in 2012. Hawthorn - who was jailed for two-and-a-half years - had previously pleaded extremely guilty at the city's magistrates' court to one count of stalking involving serious alarm or distress. He sent the presenter letters for more than six years but they became more threatening between January 2016 and March 2018, police said. His conduct 'amounted to stalking and caused Ms Lovell serious alarm or distress, which had an adverse effect on her usual day-to-day activities,' the charge stated. Reacting to the sentence, Lovell said that she welcomed 'the strong message' sent out by the courts and that 'justice has been done. I am really pleased that it is over but also that it sends a strong message that it's not okay and that anyone reporting being frightened in this way is going to be taken seriously,' she added. Lovell said that she had suffered panic attacks and at times had been 'convinced he was near. He said that he was watching, that he was close enough to smell my hair. There were four years of cards that were just filthy and then suddenly there were two years of threats that got progressively worse.' She added notes were 'really terrifying' and they stated 'that he was strong enough to have raped several times before.' Hawthorn was caught following a police appeal, which led to a member of the public telling officers that she had received a similar card. During his police interview Hawthorn was read a number of the messages he sent Lovell. One card, with a rabbit on the front, said he 'only rapes blondes' and asked: 'How does it feel to now learn that your stalker has already raped six women.' It was signed: 'From your stalker and, soon to be, your rapist.' Tests showed that Hawthorn's DNA matched that found on cards sent to Lovell. Judge Picton said Hawthorn chose to send 'disgusting frightening letters' to the presenter. 'The letters you sent caused distress and fear. She knew the author of those letters was watching. When out and about she couldn't be sure you wouldn't be watching for her.' Detective Chief Inspector Simon Brickwood from Avon and Somerset Police said Hawthorn was 'paying the price for his cruel campaign of harassment. This case highlights the fact that stalking doesn't have to be physically watching or following someone.' He praised Lovell for her 'bravery in speaking out about her distressing ordeal to encourage other victims of stalking and harassment to seek help and report offences.'
Olivia Newton-John has scotched speculation over her health and told fans that 'rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated.' The Australian singer and actress revealed in September that she had been diagnosed with cancer for a third time. A series of crassly sensationalist reports recently emerged in the US and Australia speculating that she had only weeks to live some of them citing alleged 'close sources'. Newton-John has now assured fans in a video released on Twitter that she is 'doing great.' In September last year, Newton-John revealed that she had been diagnosed with cancer for the third time in three decades, telling Australian news programme Sunday Night that doctors had found a tumour in her lower back in 2017. She said she believed she would 'win over it' and was now using medicinal marijuana and other natural remedies alongside radiation therapy. After surviving her initial cancer diagnosis in 1992, Newton-John became a prominent campaigner, setting up The Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness research centre in Melbourne.
Sir Billy Connolly has apologised for 'depressing' his many fans after describing his life as 'slipping away.' The well-known Scottish comedian made the comments during a BBC documentary about his life with Parkinson's disease. However, his wife Pamela Stephenson posted a video on her Twitter account showing Sir Billy playing a banjo and saying: 'Not dying, not dead, not slipping away.' Sir Billy was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2013. The two-part documentary series, which was broadcast on BBC2 and was watched by two million overnight viewers, showed him reflecting on his life and career. During Billy Connolly: Made In Scotland, he said: 'My life, it's slipping away and I can feel it and I should. I'm seventy five, I'm near the end. I'm a damn sight nearer the end than I am the beginning. But it doesn't frighten me, it's an adventure and it is quite interesting to see myself slipping away.' However, in the Twitter posting, Sir Billy can be seen sitting playing the banjo under a blue sky and is heard saying: 'Sorry if I depressed you. Maybe I should have phrased it better.'
A very naughty man has been extremely arrested in connection with a series of burglaries targeting the homes of celebrities in Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles police say. Hundreds of stolen items said to be worth millions of dollars were found when investigators searched properties linked to Benjamin Ackerman. Ackerman is alleged to have posed as a buyer to survey the homes before the burglaries, which began in 2017. Among the victims are the musicians Usher and Adam Lambert, police said. Thirteen victims have so far been identified. Announcing the arrest on Wednesday, Los Angeles Police Detective Jared Timmons said 'high value' property was recovered by investigators from Ackerman's home and a separate storage unit. Images of the items collected have been posted on a website to help police investigators identify any further victims in order to return them. Ackerman allegedly pretended to be a real estate agent or potential home buyer to access the properties at open houses and on some occasions falsely claimed to work for an investment firm, police said. 'When he showed up he was dressed to the nines. He acted the part. He was very slick,' Timmons claimed. Among the more than two thousand items included stolen art, clothing, handbags, fine wines and jewellery. Timmons said that the operation, which involved the 'touring' of houses that would later be targeted, was 'sophisticated' and included tampering with surveillance cameras. 'Sometimes they were just ripped out and other times the cameras would simply go black until several hours after the burglary occurred,' he said. Ackerman, who is from the Los Angeles area and has a criminal record, has 'connections in New York,' Timmons added. The investigation is ongoing as authorities try to establish the extent of the operation and identify any others who may be involved.
On what would have been The Grand Dame's seventy second birthday, a new David Bowie box-set has been announced. The collection, titled Spying Through A Keyhole (Demos & Unreleased Songs), contains seven inch vinyl singles featuring a number of previously unreleased songs, mostly from one of the least well-documented period's of David's entire career, 1968. The box is due out this spring on Parlophone Records. Among the nine recordings in the box are two demos of David' breakthrough hit, 'Space Oddity'. The release will also include demos of such legendary - but mostly unheard - titles as 'Mother Grey', 'In The Heat Of The Morning', 'Goodbye Threepenny Joe', 'Love All Around', 'London Bye, Ta-Ta' and two versions of 'Angel, Angel, Grubby Face'. 'Due to the nature of some of the solo home demos where Bowie accompanied himself on acoustic guitar, the recording quality isn't always of a usual studio fidelity,' states David's website. 'This is partly due to David's enthusiastic strumming hitting the red on a couple of the tracks, along with the limitations of the original recording equipment and tape degradation. However, the historical importance of these songs and the fact that the selections are from an archive of tracks cleared for release by Bowie, overrides this shortcoming.' Parlophone has been releasing David Bowie box-sets annually for a number of years, beginning with 2015's Five Years 1969-1973. The label then released Who Can I Be Now? in 2016, A New Career In A New Town in 2017, and Loving The Alien last year.
A record ten million people visited the Louvre Museum in Paris last year, making it the world's most popular museum of fine arts. A Beyoncé and Jay-Z pop video made in the museum is believed to have helped boost the numbers amongst young people. Louvre director Jean-Luc Martinez said that it was a sign Paris had recovered from the fall in tourism after the 2015 Islamist terror attacks. Foreigners accounted for nearly seventy five per cent of the Louvre's visitors in 2018. The post-terror slump in tourism cut Paris visitor numbers by thirty per cent, but in 2017 the total visiting the Louvre had already recovered to over eight million punters, Martinez told the AFP news agency. The Louvre houses Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa and many other world-famous masterpieces. In June last year Beyoncé and her husband Jay-Z released a music video for their single 'Apeshit', in which they posed in front of Louvre artworks, including the Mona Lisa. Critics said that the video 'challenged the idea of white cultural supremacy,' for example by showing black dancers gyrating in front of The Consecration Of The Emperor Napoleon, a giant Nineteenth-Century painting by Jacques-Louis David. Plus, the critics added, it was a 'dead bangin' tune.' In 2018, the French formed the largest visitor group (two-and-a-half million), followed by Americans (nearly one-and-a-half million) and Chinese (nearly one million). The recent demonstrations by gilets jaunes (yellow vests), stroppy - in an atypically French way - at fuel tax rises and other economic hardships, only forced the Louvre to close for but one day, Saturday 8 December. Martinez said improvements costing nearly sixty million Euros meant the Louvre 'could cope better' with the crowds of visitors. It has new ticket counters, a new luggage storeroom and new facilities for group tours. This autumn the Louvre will host a major exhibition celebrating the genius of Leonardo da Vinci. According to a survey by The Art Newspaper, in 2017 the world's most-visited art museums were: the Louvre, followed by Beijing's National Museum of China (eight million), the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (6.7 million), the Vatican Museums (6.4 million) and the British Museum in London (six million).
China says it has successfully landed a robotic spacecraft on the far side of the Moon, the first ever such attempt and landing. The un-manned Chang'e-Four probe touched down in the South Pole-Aitken Basin on 3 January, state media said. It is carrying instruments to 'analyse the unexplored region's geology,' as well to 'conduct biological experiments.' The landing is being seen as a major milestone in space exploration. There have been numerous missions to the Moon in recent years, but the vast majority have been to orbit, fly by or impact. The last crewed landing was Apollo 17 in 1972. The Chang'e-Four probe has already sent back its first pictures from the surface, which were shared by state media. With no direct communication link possible, all pictures and data have to be bounced off a separate satellite before being relayed to Earth. Previous Moon missions have landed on the Earth-facing side, but this is the first time that any craft has landed successfully on the unexplored far side. Some spacecraft have crashed into the far side, either after system failures, or after they had completed their mission and, of course, most of the Apollo missions orbited the Moon so we do, at least, know what it looks like. Ye Quanzhi, an astronomer at Caltech, told the BBC that this was the first time China had 'attempted something that other space powers have not attempted before.' The Chang'e-Four was launched from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre on 7 December; it arrived in lunar orbit on 12 December. It was then directed to lower itself toward the Moon, being careful to identify and avoid any obstacles, Chinese state media say. The Chang'e-Four probe is aiming to explore a place called the Von Kármán crater, located within the much larger South Pole-Aitken Basin - thought to have been formed by a giant impact early in the Moon's history. 'This huge structure is over two thousand five hundred kilometres in diameter and thirteen kilometres deep, one of the largest impact craters in the Solar System and the largest, deepest and oldest basin on the Moon,' Andrew Coates, professor of physics at UCL's Mullard Space Science Laboratory in Surrey, told the BBC. The event responsible for carving out the SPA basin is thought to have been so powerful, it punched through the Moon's crust and down into the zone called the mantle. Researchers will want to train the instruments on any mantle rocks exposed by the appalling calamity. The science team also hopes to study parts of the sheet of melted rock that would have filled the newly formed South Pole-Aitken Basin, allowing them to identify variations in its composition. A third objective is to study the far-side regolith, the broken up rocks and dust that make up the surface, which will help us understand the formation of the Moon. Whilst, a fourth may be to advance that cause of the Dreaded International Chinese Communist Conspiracy. Although, maybe it isn't. Chang'e-Four's static lander is carrying two cameras; a German-built radiation experiment called LND and a spectrometer that will perform low-frequency radio astronomy observations. Scientists believe that the Moon's far side could be 'an excellent place to perform radio astronomy,' because it is shielded from the radio noise of Earth. The spectrometer work will aim to test this idea. The lander also carried a container with six live species from Earth - cotton, rapeseed, potato, fruit fly, yeast and arabidopsis (a flowering plant) - to try to form a mini biosphere. The arabidopsis plant may produce the first flower on the Moon, Chinese state media say. Other equipment/experiments include a panoramic camera, a radar to probe beneath the lunar surface, an imaging spectrometer to identify minerals and an experiment to examine the interaction of the solar wind (a stream of energised particles from the Sun) with the lunar surface. The mission is part of a larger Chinese programme of lunar exploration (also, possibly, part of The Dreaded International Chinese Communist Conspiracy. Or, possibly not). The first and second Chang'e missions were designed to gather data from orbit, while the third and fourth were built for surface operations. Chang'e-Five and Six are sample return missions, delivering lunar rock and soil to laboratories on Earth. The lunar far side is often, inaccurately, referred to as 'the dark side,' though 'dark' in this case means 'unseen' rather than 'lacking light.' In fact, both the near and far sides of the Moon experience daytime and nighttime. Or, as Pink Floyd noted 'it's all dark!' But, because of a phenomenon called 'tidal locking,' we see only one face of the Moon from Earth. This is because the Moon takes just as long to rotate on its own axis as it takes to complete one orbit of Earth. The far side has a thicker, older crust which is pocked with more craters. There are also very few of the maria - the dark basaltic 'seas' created by lava flows - which are evident on the near side. In an article for the US-based Planetary Society in September, Doctor Long Xiao from the China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), said: 'The challenge faced by a far side mission is communications. With no view of Earth, there is no way to establish a direct radio link.' So the landers must communicate with Earth using a relay satellite named Queqiao - or 'Magpie Bridge' - launched by China last May. Queqiao orbits sixty five thousand kilometres beyond the Moon, around a Lagrange point - a kind of gravitational parking spot in space where it will remain visible to ground stations in China and other countries such as Argentina. China wants to become a leading power in space exploration, alongside the United States and Russia. In 2017 it announced it was planning to send astronauts to the Moon. It will also begin building its own space station next year, with the hope it will be operating by 2022. The chief designer of China's lunar exploration programme, Wu Weiren, has described Thursday's landing as 'an important milestone' for the country's space effort. The propaganda value of China's leaps forward in its space programme has been tempered by careful media management. There was very little news of the Chang'e-Four landing attempt before the official announcement it had been a success. But Fred Watson, who promotes Australia's astronomy endeavours as its astronomer-at-large, says that the secrecy 'could simply be down to caution,' similar to that shown by the Soviet Union in the early days of its competition with NASA. 'The Chinese space agency is a young organisation, but perhaps in years to come, it will catch up,' he told the BBC. Ye Quanzhi says China has made efforts to be more open. 'They live-streamed the launch of Chang'e-Two and Three, as well as the landing of Chang'e-Three. PR skills take time to develop but I think China will get there,' he said. China has been a late starter when it comes to space exploration. Only in 2003, it sent its first astronaut into orbit. The far side landing has already been heralded by experts at NASA as 'a first for humanity and an impressive accomplishment.'
The small, icy world Ultima Thule has finally been revealed. A new picture returned from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft shows it to be two objects joined together to give a look like a snowman. The probe's images acquired as it approached Ultima hinted at the possibility of a double body, but the first detailed picture from Tuesday's close flyby confirms it. New Horizons encountered Ultima six-and-a-half billion kilometres from Earth. The event set a record for the most distant ever exploration of a Solar System object. The previous mark was also set by New Horizons when it flew past Pluto in 2015. Ultima Thule orbits the Sun in a region of the Solar System known as The Kuiper belt, a collection of debris and dwarf planets. There are hundreds of thousands of Kuiper objects like Ultima and their frigid state almost certainly holds clues to how all planetary bodies came into being some 4.6 billion years ago. The mission team thinks the two spheres that make up this particular object 'probably' joined at the beginning of the formation period, or very shortly after. The scientists have decided to call the larger lobe 'Ultima' and the smaller lobe 'Thule'. The volume ratio is three-to-one. Jeff Moore, a New Horizons co-investigator from NASAa's Ames Research Centre, said that the pair would have come together 'at very low speed,' at maybe two to three kilometres-per-hour. He added: 'If you had a collision with another car at those speeds you may not even bother to fill out the insurance forms.' The new data from NASA's spacecraft also shows just how dark the object is. Its brightest areas reflect just thirteen per cent of the light falling on them; the darkest, just six per cent. That's similar to potting soil, according to Cathy Olkin, the mission's deputy project scientist from the Southwest Research Institute. It has a tinge of colour, however. 'We had a rough colour from Hubble but now we can definitely say that Ultima Thule is red,' added SwRI colleague Carly Howett. 'Our current theory as to why Ultima Thule is red is the irradiation of exotic ices.' Essentially, its surface has been 'burned' over the eons by the high-energy cosmic rays and X-rays that flood space. Principal Investigator Alan Stern paid tribute to the skill of his team in acquiring the image as New Horizons flew past the object, reaching three thousand five hundred kilometres from its surface at closest approach. The probe had to target Ultima very precisely to be sure of getting it centre-frame in the view of the cameras and other instruments on-board. '[Ultima is] only really the size of something like Washington DC and it's about as reflective as garden variety dirt and it's illuminated by a Sun that's nineteen hundred times fainter than it is outside on a sunny day here on the Earth. We were basically chasing it down in the dark at thirty two thousand miles-per-hour and all that had to happen just right,' the SwRI scientist said. Less than one per cent of all the data gathered by New Horizons during the flyby has been downlinked to Earth. The slow data-rates from The Kuiper Belt mean it will be fully twenty months before all the information is taken from the spacecraft. The best of the pictures shared by the team on Wednesday were taken while the probe was still twenty eight thousand kilometres from Ultima and discern surface features larger than one hundred and forty metres across. Pictures are expected in February which were captured at the moment of closest approach and these will have a resolution of about thirty five metres per pixel. Several factors make Ultima Thule, and the domain in which it moves, so interesting to scientists. One is that the Sun is so dim in this region that temperatures are thirty to forty degrees above absolute zero - the lower end of the temperature scale and the coldest atoms and molecules can possibly get. As a result, chemical reactions have essentially stalled. This means Ultima is in such a deep freeze that it is probably perfectly preserved in the state in which it formed. Another factor is that Ultima is small (about thirty three kilometres in the longest dimension) and this means it doesn't have the type of 'geological engine' that in larger objects will rework their composition. A third factor is the nature of the environment. It is very sedate in The Kuiper Belt. Unlike in the inner Solar System, there are probably very few collisions between objects. Professor Stern said: 'Everything that we're going to learn about Ultima - from its composition to its geology, to how it was originally assembled, whether it has satellites and an atmosphere and that kind of thing - is going to teach us about the original formation conditions in the Solar System that all the other objects we've gone out and orbited, flown by and landed on can't tell us because they're either large and evolve, or they are warm. Ultima is unique.' The scientists will ask NASA to fund a further extension to the mission. The hope is that the course of the spacecraft can be altered slightly to visit at least one more Kuiper belt object sometime in the next decade. New Horizons should have just enough fuel reserves to be able to do this. Critically, it should also have sufficient electrical reserves to keep operating its instruments into the 2030s. The longevity of New Horizon's plutonium battery may even allow it to record its exit from the Solar System. The two 1970s Voyager missions have both now left the heliosphere.
There are four hundred and sixteen names on the most recent list of ex-MPs who have parliamentary passes giving them special access to the Palace of Westminster. The list is similar to the previous version but with one notable change, David Cameron is no longer on it. Tragically, this is not a deliberate punishment of the oily twat for having gotten us into the whole Brexit mess in the first place because he wanted to show everyone how big his willy was. The former prime minister, who is said to harbour ambitions of a political comeback, is no longer a pass holder. The Daily Scum Mail suggested Cameron's office had expected the Commons authorities to remind him to renew it. Former MPs are entitled to passes giving them privileged access to the parliamentary estate and its subsidised facilities - but only if they apply for them. Names on the most recent list, which was published in October, include George Osborne, Nick Clegg, Ken Livingstone and Alex Salmond. Former cabinet ministers Chris Huhne and Jonathan Aitken, both of whom served time in prison for their naughty crimes, are also included. But whilst Cameron's name appeared on June's list, it is missing from the October edition. Cameron's name is also reportedly absent from an updated version of the list due to be released later this month. The Daily Scum Mail, which first reported the story, said it 'understood' Cameron's team 'expected' parliamentary officials to contact them when the pass needed renewing. Cameron quit as an MP after leaving Downing Street in the wake of the 2016 Brexit referendum vote and pissed off to live in France. He has largely kept a low profile in the two-and-half years since then, although last month he took to Twitter to urge Tory MPs to back Theresa May in a vote of confidence in her leadership. Downing Street has dismissed claims that Cameron was 'advising' his successor after it emerged that the two 'exchanged texts' on the day May finalised the UK's Brexit deal with the EU. In November, there were unconfirmed reports that he was keen on a return to front-line politics and was eyeing up the post of foreign secretary, a career move once made by Alec Douglas-Home after he left Downing Street.
League One Gillingham produced the biggest shock in Saturday's FA Cup Third Round as they beat Premier League Cardiff City, whilst Championship Bristol City knocked out the top flight's bottom club, Huddersfield Town. Holders Moscow Chelski FC, thirteen-time winners The Arse and The Scum were amongst the sides to make it safely through to Monday's Fourth Round draw. Two Championship teams - East Anglian rivals at that - suffered defeats at the hands of opponents from lower divisions, with Norwich beaten one-nil at home by Andre Green's late goal for Portsmouth and Accrington Stanley overcoming Ipswich Town through Billy Kee's strike. Elliott List was the hero with an eighty first-minute winner as Gillingham, nineteenth in the third tier, beat the 2008 finalists Cardiff, currently seventeen in the Premier League table. Huddersfield were knocked out by Josh Brownhill's seventy second-minute winner as Bristol City, who reached the semi-finals of the League Cup last season, also made it through. Alvaro Morata scored twice as Moscow Chelski FC beat Championship side Nottingham Forest 2-0. Cesc Fàbregas, who is reported to be joining Monaco in the January transfer window, missed a first-half penalty. There was no upset at Bloomfield Road, where The Arse overcame League One Blackpool three-nil, with two goals scored from nineteen-year-old Joe Willock and another by Alex Iwobi. The attendance of a fraction under nine thousand - including over five thousand Gunners fans - was well below capacity as home supporters reportedly stayed away in protest against Tangerines owner, Owen Oyston. A penalty by Juan Mata - awarded after consulting the video assistant referee - and Romelu Lukaku's third goal in as many games proved enough for The Scum as they beat Reading two-nil at Old Trafford.
    There was none of that 'romance of the cup' nonsense as Third Round weekend began on Friday evening with Stottingtot Hotshots giving Tranmere Rovers a right good trousers-down seven-nil hiding at Prenton Park. One of the major shocks of the Third Round occurred at St James' Park where, almost beyond belief, yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies are still in the competition. Although, only just after an awful display against Championship opposition. Former Gillingham midfielder Bradley Dack put Blackburn Vindaloos ahead at Newcastle, fifteenth in the Premier League, before the home side forced a replay at Ewood Park with Matt Ritchie's late penalty. League Two Grimsby were minutes away from earning a replay against Crystal Palace - despite playing with ten men for eighty eight minutes after Andrew Fox was sent off - before Jordan Ayew struck with a late winner for the Premiership side. Nathan Redmond had put Southampton two-nil up against Derby County, but Frank Lampard's Championship side fought back with Tom Lawrence scoring the equaliser to earn a replay at St Mary's. Everton survived a scare against League Two leaders Lincoln City to win their first FA Cup tie since March 2016, with Ademola Lookman and Bernard giving the Toffees a two-one win. The first goal of Saturday was scored by Marko Arnautovic against Birmingham City and it set West Hamsters United on their way to a two-nil win, with Andy Carroll also on the scoresheet and Samir Nasri making his The Hamsters debut. Brighton & Hove Albinos triumphed in the all-Premier League battle at Bournemouth - two goals in the space of three first-half minutes by Anthony Knockaert and Yves Bissouma setting Chris Hughton's side up for a three-one victory. League One Barnsley were moments away from a replay at Premier League Burnley but the hosts were awarded a ninetieth-minute penalty, allowing Chris Wood to send The Clarets through. Earlier in the tie, Burnley had a penalty decision overruled by VAR just as Matej Vydra was about to take the spot-kick. Elsewhere, Shrewsbury - sixteenth in League One - took the lead at home to Championship side Stoke City through Oliver Norburn's penalty. However, thirty seven-year-old gangling beanpole Peter Crouch, an FA Cup winner with Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws in 2006, earned The Potters a replay with a seventy eighth-minute equaliser, a mere four minutes after coming on as a substitute. Wigan Not Very Ahtletic, quarter-finalists last season after knocking out Sheikh Yer Man City, fell at the first hurdle this time around after Bakary Sako's goal helped West Bromwich Albinos win an all-Championship tie at The Hawthorns. League One Luton Town earned a replay after holding Championship side Sheffield Wednesday to a goalless draw at Hillsborough. Swansea City came out on top in their all-Championship tie with Aston Villains winning three-nil, whilst Middlesbrough Smog Monsters thrashed League One Peterborough five-nil. Elsewhere Notlob Wanderings beat Walsall five-two, Brentford were one-nil winners against League One strugglers Oxford United and AFC Wimbledon beat Fleetwood Mac three-two in an all-League One match-up. And, can now go their own way into the Fourth Round.
    Non-league Barnet stunned Championship high-flyers Sheffield United and League Two club Oldham Not Very Athletic knocked out Fulham as Sunday's FA Cup third-round fixtures delivered more shocks. National League side Barnet had not reached this stage of the competition since 2008 and, on that occasion, they secured a spot in the Fourth Round - it was a case of history repeating at Bramall Lane. The Bees held on for more than seventy five minutes for their one-nil win after Stottingtot Hotshots academy graduate Shaq Coulthirst had given them the lead from the spot. Oldham, three-time semi-finalists, fought from a goal down to beat The Cottagers two-one in a match that was incident-packed in the final fourteen minutes. Denis Odoi gave Fulham the lead shortly after the interval before Sam Surridge levelled from the spot. Claudio Ranieri's side were then awarded a penalty after Tom Cairney had been fouled - VAR confirmed referee Anthony Taylor's decision despite there appearing to have been little contact made by Christopher Missilou. Substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic missed the spot-kick before Callum Lang headed in what proved to be the winner for Oldham in the eighty eighth minute. Any idea of a Cup upset at The Etihad Stadium was extinguished in the first-half as Sheikh Yer Man City scored three times against struggling Championship side Rotherham. Phil Foden's goal received the biggest cheer from the home support, it was his first at the ground. City scored four more after the break as they ran out seven-nil winners in a ruthless display. Veteran football commentator Martin Tyler was patrolling the touchline at The Laithwaite Community Stadium, along with manager Alan Dowson but the pair could not guide the National League South side Woking to a shock win over Premier League visitors Watford, who secured a two-nil victory. Tyler, a lifelong Cards fan who joined as a volunteer coach when Dowson was appointed in May, took the role of Assistant Manager on Sunday. League One Doncaster reached the Fourth Round for the first time since 2010 with a three-one win at Championship club Preston Both Ends. Substitute Shane Ferguson came off the bench to score twice in the final ten minutes as Millwall knocked fellow Championship side Hull City out with a two-one win. And Dirty Leeds will now have to solely focus on their bid for promotion to the Premier League as they succumbed to a two-one defeat by play-off hopefuls Queen's Park Strangers.
    In what was undoubtedly the match of the round - the BBC were surely delighted to have picked it for their Sunday live game - last year's giant killers Newport County did it again, this time beating Leicester City two-one in a pulsating, end-to-end cracker at Rodney Parade. Rachid Ghezzal's twenty yard screamer ten minutes from time appeared to have given Leicester a draw, cancelling out Jamille Matt's first-half header from Robbie Willmott's pinpoint cross. But, just three minutes later Marc Albrighton handled in the box and Pádraig Amond scored from the spot to send County through to the Fourth Round for the second year running. The final tie of the round, on Monday, saw Wolverhampton Wanderings beat current Premiership leaders Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws two-one. Herr Klopp's squad rotation was 'let down by the players' who 'failed miserably,' according to former England captain Alan Shearer.
Rotund, beardy Cockney wideboy Martin Samuel wrote an article in the Daily Scum Mail on Friday, in what appeared to many Newcastle United fans to be a suspiciously conveniently-timed story given that season ticket cancellations are currently a distinct possible: 'Peter Kenyon's bid to buy Newcastle is not over and he has contacted Mike Ashley personally with a promise to resume negotiations this month,' Samuel alleged. 'It was thought that the consortium led by Kenyon had given up on the deal, having failed to find' the three hundred million knicker funding 'required to tempt Newcastle's owner to sell.' But, a letter sent by Kenyon shortly before Christmas and 'seen by Sportsmail, makes it plain' that 'discussions will continue and the sale is still on' - with the former Moscow Chelski FC and The Scum executive allegedly in pole position. 'Sent via the club for Ashley's personal attention' - so, exactly how Samuel and the Scum Mail got hold of a copy is a question which is probably well worth asking at this juncture - Kenyon allegedly writes of 'a serious determination to finalise the agreement we have as so- the one that the BBC would have been delighted to picjon as possible in the New Year.' He allegedly adds: 'I would like to personally assure you that I am committed to conclude our deal as soon as possible we are both perhaps frustrated that we have not progressed as quickly as we would have wished.' Ashley is 'coming under increasing pressure to sell,' Samuel writes although quite how that situation is any different from the majority of the previous nine or ten years is, again, worth pondering, 'with eight fans' groups writing a joint letter this week imploring him to conclude any deal swiftly, or invest transfer funds in the January window.' Which, clearly, he has absolutely no intention whatsoever of doing. 'There has been increasing scepticism on Tyneside that talk of selling is merely a - not particularly cunning - ruse by the owner to quell growing protests, Samuel adds, realistically. 'A television interview that Ashley gave recently has been dismissed as a PR exercise to get the fans off his back, with claims that he is resistant to any sale.' There were reports before Christmas that Kenyon's consortium, which allegedly includes former Sheikh Yer Man City chief executive Garry Cook, were 'as much as one-third short of the asking price' - a figure in the region of one hundred million smackers. 'Yet what also emerges from Kenyon's letter.' Samuel claims, 'is that negotiations are long-standing and he remains Ashley’s preferred bidder. While not yet at an exclusivity stage, Kenyon certainly appears to have progressed further than a previous suitor, Amanda Staveley, whose takeover Ashley ultimately dismissed as "a waste of time." In contrast, Kenyon writes: "I am delighted you think the investor group led by myself is the best fit. We have both spent many months discussing the parameters of a final deal and have also invested heavily in time and money on our various legal and financial advisors." Kenyon concludes by thanking Ashley for his patience, with a hope for further negotiations in the new year.' The problem, once again Samuel notes, 'is in the timing. If Kenyon's deal cannot be completed before the January transfer window closes - and, for all the good intentions, there is nothing in the letter to suggest it will be - this still leaves Newcastle in limbo, with Ashley unlikely to invest further if he is selling and any new investor unable to raise sufficient funds in time to make the necessary short-term impact.' This 'update' on the alleged takeover has been met by all kinds of reactions on Tyneside including disbelief, optimism, pessimism and hollow laughter. Samuel, it should be noted, has considerable form where Ashley is concerned. On a number of occasions the journalist has backed up the club's owner in print and attacked Newcastle fans at the same time. And as ever, dear blog reader, it's always worth remembering the golden rule when it comes to the possibility of seeing your football club taken over from a current - much disliked - regime. Be careful what you wish for, it might just come true. Many clubs - Newcastle included - have been down this road before, dear blog reader and, whilst there have been a few notable success stories, the disasters far outweigh those that have worked out.
The Football Association is 'asking people to come forward with information' after an unnamed England player was reported to have been 'kicked out of a nightclub for taking cocaine.' The allegation was allegedly snitched to the Sun newspaper, allegedly by an alleged - though suspiciously anonymous and, therefore, possibly fictitious - 'club insider.' The paper alleges that the Premier League player took the drug during a pre-Christmas 'team get-together' after an away game. The FA can ban any players found to have breached its social drugs policy. The starting point for a first time offence is up to three months and the FA has the power to suspend players indefinitely if they have breached the rules multiple times. Incidents of doping in English football are 'rare' the FA claims, but the governing body insists it 'remains a priority for The FA to find and sanction anyone found taking performance-enhancing or recreational drugs.' And, that's why they want someone to grass up the alleged individual allegedly with sniffing the cake involved like a dirty, stinking Copper's Nark. An FA spokesman added: 'We encourage anyone with information about any anti-doping violation in football to report it to The FA.'
Craig Bellamy has temporarily stepped down from his role as Cardiff City Under-Eighteens coach following the club's decision to investigate a bullying claim made against him. The investigation follows reports of a complaint about the former Norwich City, Coventry City, Newcastle United, Glasgow Celtic, Blackburn Vindaloos, Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws, West Hamsters United, Sheikh Yer Man City and Wales striker's alleged treatment of a young player, who has since left the club. Bellamy denies the allegations. 'I categorically refute them. I fully expect to return to my coaching role and have sought legal advice,' he said. Cardiff City have not yet commented on the allegations or responded to Bellamy's denial of them. In a statement Bellamy added: 'I am aware of allegations that have been made against me via the media. I understand the need for Cardiff City to undertake a full investigation in response to these allegations and - at my own suggestion - I have temporarily removed myself from my coaching position in order to cooperate fully with the club's inquiry. Obviously, I am saddened both by the allegations and the manner in which they were made.' Bellamy had what might, charitably, be described as 'a colourful career' as a player on several occasions leaving clubs under something of a cloud for a variety of different reasons - including allegedly feigning an injury and refusing to play in a game whilst at Newcastle, attacking his Liverpool teammate John Arne Rise with a golf club (an incident which earned him the nickname 'the nutter with the putter') and making disparaging comments in public about former clubs and teammates ... on a regular basis. In 2010, whilst playing for Sheikh Yer Man City in the Manchester derby against The Scum Bellamy was struck by a coin thrown by someone in the crowd. Greater Manchester police later stated that they had narrowed down a list of suspects to 'everyone who's ever met him.'
Wayne Rooney was very arrested and fined in the United States last month for public intoxication and swearing. The former England and The Scum captain, who now plays for Major League Soccer's DC United, was arrested on 16 December in Virginia. A spokesman for Loudoun County Sheriff's Office confirmed Rooney was taken into custody 'on a charge of public intoxication stemming from an arrest by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police.' The spokesman added: 'He was later released on a personal recognisance bond.' According to reports, Rooney was arrested at Dulles International Airport after a returning from a trip to Saudi Arabia where he attended the opening race of the Formula E season near Riyadh. Court documents from Loudoun General District Court show that Rooney paid a twenty five dollar fine and ninety one bucks costs on 4 January. He was a charged with a Class Four Misdemeanour, which carries a maximum fine of two hundred and fifty notes. Rooney was banned from driving for two years in September 2017 after he was found to be almost three times over the legal limit when he was stopped by police in Cheshire. He moved to the US in June 2018 after signing a three-and-a-half-year contract with DC United. Rooney led the club to the play-offs in his first season before they suffered a first-round loss, with the former Everton player missing a penalty in a shootout against Columbus Crew. A statement from DC United said: 'We are aware of news reports indicating that Wayne Rooney was arrested in December. We understand the media's interest in this matter but we believe this is a private matter for Wayne that DC United will handle internally. We have no further comment on this situation.'
Police in Western Australia have confirmed they sent 'multiple officers' to an 'emergency' call which turned out to be a screaming man with a 'serious fear' of spiders. A 'concerned passerby' was walking outside a house in suburban Perth when they heard a toddler screaming and a man repeatedly shouting 'Why don't you die?' After they called triple zero (the Australian emergency number), officers promptly arrived - tooled up and ready for some serious shit going down - only to find a man 'trying to kill a spider,' who apologised for having 'an extreme fear' of the arachnid. The Wanneroo police Twitter account posted a screenshot of the police log of the incident on Wednesday morning. 'Caller walked past the AA and heard a male screaming out "Why don't you die" - repeatedly,' the log read. 'The toddler inside was screaming. Caller doesn't know them, but has seen them a few times when walking.' Twenty minutes later, officers on the scene provided an update. 'Police spoke with all parties who advised that husband had only been trying to kill a spider (has serious fear of spiders). Apologised for inconvenience to police. No injuries sighted (except to spider). No further police involvement required.' An officer at Wanneroo station confirmed to the Gruniad Morning Star Australia that the incident had occurred, but declined to provide further comment. A spokesman for WA police said that the Twitter post had been deleted because it included the screenshot of police communications. He said the account should have been transcribed in a separate post. 'There's nothing actually wrong with the contents of it,' he said. 'There were just some typos in it, things like that.' In 2015, a similar incident occurred in Sydney when police attended a house to find a 'quite embarrassed' man throwing furniture at a spider.
A book has been returned to an Aberdeen library forty years after it was due to be brought back. Crime novel A Touch Of Danger by James Jones was last taken out in 1978. It has now been taken back to Aberdeen's Central Library but, luckily for the person who returned it, the fine was capped at £3.60. Aberdeen City Libraries events and programming officer Dallas King said that it had apparently been found during a tidy up and was 'sheepishly' returned. King told BBC Scotland: 'It was returned just after New Year. The person rather sheepishly said apologies and then sort of disappeared before we could get more details. It's a crime novel, but [the author] is probably most famous for the novel From Here to Eternity. You could say he wrote From Here to Eternity and it might have taken an eternity but this book is back here with us now. This long overdue is quite rare. It's nice to have it back after all this time.'
2019 may only be a few days old, dear blog reader, but already From The North has a contender for the most ludicrously unlikely and hyperbolic non-story of the year, from the Newcastle Evening Chronicle: Wow! Jude Law Reportedly Spotted Shopping In A Co-op In Northumberland.
A motorist whose windscreen was iced up drove the wrong way unable to see he was on a collision course with a police car. As the uninsured driver was reportedly being questioned, officers photographed the inside of the car to show how much his vision was obscured. He was detained after pulling into a Peterborough petrol station. The vehicle was seized and the motorist ordered to appear in court. He was charged with driving without due care and attention by officers, who said that he was one of a number of uninsured drivers who had been pulled over.
Cycling campaigners have reacted angrily to a tweet from The Highway Code which suggested, sensibly, that cyclists should wear helmets and protective clothing, saying the advice 'fuelled a culture of 'victim blaming.' Which it doesn't or anything even remotely like it, it's just common sense. The official Twitter account's post encouraging people to wear 'appropriate clothes for cycling' was met with negative responses 'from those who believe the suggestion to be ineffective,' according to some plank of no importance at the Gruniad Morning Star. A spokesperson for Cycling UK said that the recommendation 'led to a culture of victim blaming' of cyclists and allowed careless drivers to evade responsibility. 'Helmets are only really effective in low-impact collisions, we need better infrastructure for cyclists and education for drivers,' they claimed. 'If you look at places like the Netherlands and Denmark, where there are more cyclists, it's not helmets that contribute to low death rates for cyclists but roadscapes and townscapes that are designed to keep people safe.' The Highway Code advises cyclists to wear a helmet that 'conforms to current regulations,' to 'avoid clothing that may get tangled in wheels or obscure lights' and to wear 'light or fluorescent-coloured clothing' and 'reflective clothing or accessories' in the dark. None of the guidelines are legal requirements. But they are, just to repeat, things that even the world's stupidest idiot would be advised to do when getting on their bike to go out of the roads. They're certainly what this blogger does on the odd occasions that hetakes Gillian, roughly out onto the estate for a good hard peddling. The former Olympic racing cyclist Chris Boardman quoted The Highway Code account's tweet and said: 'Like the 1950s healthy people smoke Marlborough messages - we will look back on in years to come and ask what were we thinking.' Ricky Carterna, a cyclist who responded to the tweet, said: 'Hi-vis, helmets and appropriate clothing have no effect when hit by a careless, inattentive driver in a one-tonne metal vehicle travelling at thirty miles per hour. I have worn these recommended articles and still been wiped out. Focus your attention on the cause and stop victim blaming.' Not everyone is opposed to The Highway Code's advice, however. Last week, the sister of a cyclist who died after being hit by a tractor in Leicestershire launched a petition to make it compulsory for people to wear a helmet. The Tour De France champion Geraint Thomas also said that he felt helmets should be made compulsory for cyclists.
Thirteen people filed for divorce on Christmas Day in England and Wales, official figures show. They were among four hundred and fifty five online divorce applications submitted to HM Courts & Tribunals Service between Christmas Eve and New Year's Day. Twenty-six people submitted applications on Christmas Eve, twenty three on Boxing Day and seventy seven on New Year's Day. Which is one Hell of an impressive demonstration of those who take the idea of a new Year's Resolution very seriously. Since April 2018 spouses have been able to complete the divorce application process using the Interweb. Instead of sending paperwork, people can fill in applications, upload the documents needed and pay fees online. This, dear blog reader, is progress. Figures released by the Ministry of Justice show more than twenty three thousand online divorce applications have been made since the platform was introduced. However, despite this simplification of the process, divorce rates for opposite-sex couples in England and Wales are at their lowest level since 1973, according to the latest figures published by the Office for National Statistics. In 2017 there were one hundred and one thousand six hundred and sixty six divorces of opposite-sex couples in England and Wales, a decrease of five per cent on the previous year. There were three hundred and thirty eight divorces of same-sex couples in 2017, more than three times the number in 2016. However, same-sex marriages have only been possible in England and Wales since March 2014. Amanda Major, from the relationship support charity Relate, said that her organisation, typically, 'saw an increase in requests for help' in January. 'Many people hope that the festive period will be a time of coming together, so when this doesn't happen the sense of failure and sadness can further exacerbate problems that were there in the first place,' she said. 'Pressures can build up when people are spending an extended period of time together. For some people it might be the additional financial pressure of Christmas that triggers a problem, while for others it could be the stress of trying to keep everyone from the in-laws to the children happy.' Or, it might just be that there's been an argument over what to watch on telly. When you apply for a divorce you must prove your marriage has broken down and give one of the following reasons: Adultery, unreasonable behaviour, desertion, you have lived apart for more than two years and both agree to the divorce or you have lived apart for at least five years, even if your husband or wife disagrees. The introduction of 'fully digital' divorces is part of a one billion knicker plan to 'modernise' the justice system. The MoJ said more than one hundred and fifty thousand people had used online justice services in 2018, taking the total to more than three hundred thousand in the past four years. This included to lodge civil money claims, for probate applications, personal independence payment appeals and pleas in fare evasion cases and low level-motoring offences. Justice minister Lucy Frazer claimed: 'These online services are already making a difference to people who use the justice system. As we reach this milestone, it's encouraging to see people are reporting these services work well for them and are a better fit around their busy lives.' The MoJ said the services do not replace existing paper-based applications, but 'provide a quicker, easier service' for many people.
The alleged 'sonic attacks' which afflicted diplomats at the US Embassy in Cuba could have just been 'the work of crickets,' according to a report. The embassy in Havana cut its staff in half in 2017 after dozens of people complained of headaches, nausea and other ailments from hearing mysterious, penetrating high-pitched noises - believed to be an acoustic weapon - possibly from the Russians. But, a fresh analysis of an audio recording made by US personnel in Cuba revealed that the source of the piercing din is the song of the Indies short-tailed cricket, known as Anurogryllus celerinictus, a study says. 'The recording is definitively a cricket that belongs to the same group,' said Fernando Montealegre-Zapata, a professor of sensory biology at the University of Lincoln who participated in the study. 'The call of this Caribbean species is about seven kHz and is delivered at an unusually high rate, which gives humans the sensation of a continuous sharp trill.'
A South Carolina teacher allegedly bragged to colleagues that she 'couldn't control' herself when she had 'a sex orgy' with two students at 'a booze-fuelled party' hosted with another coworker, police said. Details have emerged after Brittney Whetzel and Akina Andrews were very arrested in April for allegedly throwing students a spring break party in Lady's Island, news station WGHP reported. Whetzel, a Battery Creek High School teacher, reportedly searched online before the party, 'Can teachers get in trouble for sleeping with former students?' The answer to which is, yes, it would appear. She allegedly told friends that she couldn't wait until graduation so she could have one of the teen's 'beautiful babies,' according to the Island Packet newspaper. But, before the student could get his diploma, Whetzel invited him and three other teens to her home 'for drinking games,' according to officials. Andrews, who also taught at Battery Creek High School, was also at the party. The teachers are accused of supplying beer, wine and tequila to the teens. Whetzel allegedly had The Sex with two of the students whilst at the party. Though both were above the age of consent, it is illegal for teachers to have sexual relations with students under South Carolina law. In a group text with colleagues, Whetzel allegedly 'boasted' a few hours later about the sexy encounter. A third co-worker in the group chat snitched the incident to police and the two partying teachers were extremely arrested, according to officials.
One person in California was reportedly 'being treated for serious injuries' after they somehow became trapped in 'an industrial washing machine.' Emergency crews were called to the La Quinta Resort on Saturday night. They found the victim 'entangled in laundry' and 'suffering from serious injuries' sustained while being stuck inside the machine during a wash cycle. The victim, whose name has not been released, was taken to an area hospital where his condition was said to be 'very shaken but extremely clean.'
Women know very little about their own anatomy and it could cost them their lives. That is according to a new survey by gynaecological cancer charity The Eve Appeal, which discovered that forty four per cent of women could not identify the vagina and sixty per cent were unsure where the vulva was reports The Huffington Post. When shown a medical drawing of the female reproductive system, less than one third could correctly label six different parts the survey suggests.
A Phoenix woman accused of stalking a man met on a dating site and sending him more than sixty five thousand text messages apparently sent more than twice that many. Jacqueline Ades sent a man more than one hundred and fifty nine thousand text messages - some of which were threatening - over the course of nearly ten months, according to police records the Arizona Republic obtained via a public records request. The two went on a single date. The man, whose name has not been released, called the police after he found Ades parked outside his home in July 2017. Paradise Valley officers escorted her off his property and that's when police say Ades began threatening the man and bombarding him with texts. One allegedly read: 'I'd make sushi outta ur [sic] kidneys n[ sic] chopsticks outta ur [sic] hand bones.' In April 2018, Ades was very arrested for trespassing inside the man's home while he was out of the country. Ades has pleaded not guilty to charges of stalking and criminal trespassing.
Authorities say a Florida woman 'threw a tantrum' and attacked her parents after they refused to take her to Outback Steakhouse. WPBF reports that Deana Seltzer of Lake Worth was extremely arrested following reports of a domestic disturbance on Wednesday. Officers responded to the residence and said the dining room 'had been ransacked.' The glass dining table was 'flipped over' and there was broken glass scattered throughout the area. Detectives also found a large kitchen knife on the kitchen counter, the news station reported. Seltzer's mother said that her daughter began punching her after she asked to go to the restaurant and she told her no. Seltzer's father tried to intervene and was scratched on his face and upper body. She said that her daughter proceeded to scream and flip over the large dining room table, then started tearing up random furniture. She grabbed a kitchen knife and ran toward her father, screaming "I'm going to kill you," but her father was able to wrestle the knife away, police said. Seltzer is charged with one count of simple battery domestic, one count of battery of a person sixty five or older, two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and one count of massively over-reacting when not getting her own way.
A former trainee nun is starting her professional porn career off 'with a bang' by signing an exclusive deal with one of the biggest porn companies in the US. Yudi Pineda, a devoted Catholic from Colombia, has signed a multi-scene deal with BangBros, a Miami-based studio. The twenty eight-year-old will make her debut in a scene released on 13 January. Pineda made a name for herself in her home country when she left the convent where she was training to be a nun in order to become a cam girl, according to the Sun. The switch 'was not an easy one' considering that Pineda had dreamed of being a nun since she was a little girl. 'I was at school when nuns came to visit us and I knew then that I wanted to do that,' Pineda said. She was just ten years old and yet was soon in training to become a nun. However, by the time she was eighteen, she had 'fallen in love with a religious teacher and decided she needed a change of scenery,' according to the newspaper. While working menial jobs in Medellin, she was 'spotted' by a webcam recruiter. 'At first I was feeling bad, but now I am fine with it,' Pineda told media in Colombia. 'I also feel good when I go to church. I never miss Friday prayers, Saturday meetings or Sunday Mass.' BangBros executive producer Cullen McRae said the studio 'couldn't be more proud' of signing Pineda up, according to AVN. 'Her beauty, her raw sexuality and her desire to share that with her fans is something that we knew was extremely special,' McRae said. 'Her first scene with us showcases not only her passion and sexuality but also her faith, as we collaborated with her to come up with a convent-based theme. We have no doubt these scenes will make her a household name.'
A woman has suffered chemical injuries after she was mistakenly prescribed erectile dysfunction cream for a dry eye condition. The woman, from Glasgow, had to be treated at A&E after she was given Vitaros cream instead of the eye lubricant VitA-POS. Her experience is detailed in December's BMJ Case Reports journal. The report calls for doctors to 'use block capitals' in handwritten prescriptions to 'avoid errors.' The woman was given a handwritten prescription for VitA-POS, a liquid paraffin lubrication, for treatment of severe dry eyes and corneal erosions. The mix-up happened between her GP and pharmacist, where she was issued with Vitaros, an erectile dysfunction cream. After using it, the woman suffered eye pain, blurred vision, redness and a swollen eyelid. The mild chemical injury to her eye was treated in hospital with topical antibiotics, steroids and lubricants, which cleared it up in a few days. Doctor Magdalena Edington, from Glasgow's Tennent Institute of Ophthalmology, wrote the report for the December edition of BMJ Case Reports. In it, she said: 'Prescribing errors are common and medications with similar names and packaging increase risk. However, it is unusual in this case that no individual, including the patient, general practitioner or dispensing pharmacist, questioned erectile dysfunction cream being prescribed to a female patient, with ocular application instructions. We believe this to be an important issue to report, to enhance awareness and promote safe prescribing skills.' Although many prescriptions are printed - including every one that this blogger has received for about the last couple of years at least - rather than handwritten, Doctor Edington said that she wants to 'raise awareness' that medications with similar spellings exist and encourage prescribers 'to ensure that handwritten prescriptions are printed in block capital letters (including the hyphen with VitA-POS) to avoid similar scenarios in the future.' Data released last year suggested GPs, pharmacists, hospitals and care homes may be making two hundred and thirty seven million prescription errors a year, the equivalent of one mistake for every five drugs issued. The errors include wrong medications being given, incorrect doses dispensed and delays in medication being administered. The study said that most of these incidents 'caused no problems,' but in more than a quarter of cases the mistakes 'could have caused harm.' Robbie Turner, the director of pharmacy at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said the organisation was 'sorry' to hear about what happened to this particular patient. 'Mistakes are taken very seriously by pharmacists, who work hard to ensure patient safety, knowing the harm they can cause. Most prescriptions these days are electronic, removing errors due to handwriting. Whatever the particular reasons for this error, collaboration between pharmacists and prescribers makes care safer and helps reduce mistakes.' Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: 'Most GPs now use digital systems to ensure the right medication is being prescribed to the right person, with several online prompts to make sure they are satisfied with the choice of drug, dosage, and length of prescription. These systems have substantially reduced the likelihood of prescribing errors - but it is still important to maintain open and rapid channels of communication between GPs and pharmacists, so that if there are any queries regarding a patient's medication they can be answered.' Doctors are given guidance on their handwriting in a NHS training manual. The same document included an example of a misread prescription which led to the death of a patient in 1995. A written prescription for isordil (isosorbide mononitrate) was misread as plendil (felodipine). As a result of complications the patient died within a week.
A US teenager convicted of trying to kill her friend in order to please the fictional online character, Slender Man, has asked for her sentence to be reduced. Morgan Geyser is currently serving forty years in a psychiatric hospital after the near fatal attack in Wisconsin in May 2014. Along with her classmate, Anissa Weier, she lured their friend Payton Leutner into woods and stabbed her nineteen times. Payton managed to crawl free on to a path and survived the attack. All three girls were twelve years old at the time. Geyser stood trial for attempted first-degree intentional homicide in adult court, where crimes that severe are usually heard. Her lawyers claim that because Geyser 'believed' Slender Man would hurt her family if she didn't kill Payton, she should have, instead, stood trial for the second-degree version in youth court. As a juvenile, the twelve-year-old would have been sent to The Big House for a maximum of three years if found guilty and then supervised until she was eighteen but, as it was, the judge gave her the full sentence that prosecutors asked for - arguing she was a risk to herself and others. The appeal also argues that when she agreed to be interviewed by detectives at the time, resulting in her confession, Geyser would not have been able to understand what rights she had given up. Doctors gave conflicting opinions on the severity of her mental health and the treatment she needed. Slender Man is thought to have originated from an Interweb fiction competition in 2009, which asked for a modern myth that could terrify people. He is described in stories as an unnaturally tall, thin, demon-like figure that lacks facial features, lives in a mansion in a forest and abducts children. Authorities say that the girls had hoped to live in that fictional home after the attack.
A Florida man claims that three syringes removed from his arsehole during a strip search at the Pinellas County Jail 'do not belong to him.' Wesley Dasher Scott was very arrested on a drug charge early on Friday morning and was taken to the receiving area of the County Jail. Whilst he was being strip searched, Scott removed three syringes from his rectum and gave them to a deputy, according to an arrest affidavit. He, allegedly, told deputies that the syringes were 'not his.' Before he was transported to the jail, Scott was searched in a field where he was taken into custody. A deputy said that he asked Scott if he had anything on him and if he knew what would happen if he brought anything hidden into the jail. The deputy said that Scott 'knew what the consequences would be.' Scott was charged with felony possession of contraband in a county detention facility, possession of drugs without a prescription with intent to sell, possession of marijuana, possession of drugs without prescription and lying about what he had rammed up his Gary Glitter.
At the border control in Singapore, officers reportedly intercepted a traveller with 'a striking bump in his pants.' When the package then started to meow, their surprise was complete. The officers eventually found four live kittens hidden in the chap's trousers. The forty five-year-old driver was stopped at the border last Wednesday in a routine check of his car. Then the officers also noticed that the man had 'a suspicious bump' in his sweatpants which started making 'meowing noises.' A further check revealed that the man had four live cats under the elastic of his pants. He tried to smuggle the cats into the country for reasons not entirely known at this time. The kittens were rescued and are now being taken care of by the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore.
Ontario Provincial Police are,again, reminding the public about the proper use of the nine-one-one system after operators in Norfolk County recently received a wasteful call from a woman who was 'concerned' about the company her teenage daughter was keeping. The OPP say that through an investigation it was determined that the woman's seventeen-year-old daughter was planning to spend some time with friends and had refused to stay home. The teen's mother, seemingly, did not like those friends and decided to call the fuzz and snitch up her daughter like a filthy stinking Copper's Nark. The call came just a few days after Hamilton police revealed that nearly one-third of all none-one-one calls they received in 2018 were for 'non-emergency matters,' including calls requesting cold fast food, reporting a sick cat and complaining about 'a noise coming from the lightbulb.'
It was a 'love triangle' with four corners, four police badges but, no guns. An NYPD sergeant cheated on his officer girlfriend with a fellow officer, whose husband is also on the job according to the New York Post. And, their superior's reaction to all this was to take away everyone's guns so tht they wouldn't kill each other. Sergeant Kandou Worley and Officer Stephanie Gallardo were both assigned to the department's Strategic Response Group when they had their secret fling last year, according to an internal NYPD document. But their secret assignations were revealed when Worley's live-in girlfriend, Tyeis Coppin, a union delegate in the Thirty Second Precinct, found 'incriminating photos' on his cellphone. In a fit of vengeance, Coppin, allegedly posted the photos to Worley's Instagram account with an appropriately sarcastic caption. On Boxing Day, Worley - who an alleged 'source' allegedly said 'served as Gallardo's supervisor,' warned her that the photos were online and the NYPD learned about the whole malarkey two days later. Gallardo was called in for questioning, and admitted that she and Worley had 'a personal relationship' during September and October. But, Gallardo claimed that she had been separated from her husband, fellow SRG officer Cristian Gallardo, since March, even though they are still living together and raising their twenty-month-old daughter. She also claimed that 'with the exception of kissing while together off-duty on a number of occasions, the relationship [with Worley] was not intimate.' The NYPD report says that a total of nine handguns were seized from all four officers under a section of the Patrol Guide which permits impounding firearms in 'non-disciplinary cases,' including those involving 'stress as a result of family or other situations.' An alleged law-enforcement 'source' allegedly said the circumstances raised 'the potential for violent outcomes due to the sensitive nature of infidelity and everyone having access to guns.' The report also says that the entire mess was 'turned over to the Special Operations Division Investigations Unit' for further review, 'including a review of social media.' All four officers were given back their guns and returned to active duty in their original assignments during the past week, pending results of the SOD investigation, an NYPD spokesman said.
Police are trying to track down a man who spent three hours licking a doorbell at a California home. 'I thought I'd seen it all, but this takes the cake,' neighbour Francisco Javier Estrada told KION. Surveillance cameras caught the very naughty man whom police subsequently identified as Roberto Daniel Arroyo in the act.
A French writer is being - rightly - criticised after saying he would be 'incapable' of loving a woman aged fifty or above despite being fifty himself. Yann Moix told Marie Claire magazine that he found women of that age 'too old. I prefer younger women's bodies, that's all. End of. The body of a twenty five-year-old woman is extraordinary. The body of a woman of fifty is not extraordinary at all,' he said. The comments have, not unsuprprisingly, sparked an angry backlash on social media from both men and women. Marina Foïs, a French comedian, said in a tweet that because she is about to turn forty nine she only has 'one year and fourteen days left' to sleep with the author. Another twitter user mocked him, saying women over fifty were likely to be 'breathing a sigh of relief' at his comments. The journalist Colombe Schneck posted a photograph of her own bottom with the caption: 'Voila, the buttocks of a woman aged fifty two. What an imbecile you are, you don't know what you're missing.' Although, after she posted the image now, presumably, he does. Anne Roumanoff, another French comic, criticised Moix on Europe 1 radio - pointing out that romance was not 'just about the firmness of the buttocks' (although, that's not an inconsiderable factor, let it be noted) but 'a connection between two people. I hope that one day he knows this happiness,' she added. Moix is a presenter, director and writer who is known for courting controversy with his comments. Sort of a French Jeremy Clarkson if you like only without the sense of humour. His Marie Claire interview also drew criticism for statements he made regarding his 'preference' for dating Asian women - which he specified as 'Koreans, Chinese and Japanese' in particular. 'It's perhaps sad and reductive for the women I go out with but the Asian type is sufficiently rich, large and infinite for me not to be ashamed,' he told the magazine. Responding to the outrage, he told RTL radio, he was 'not responsible' for his taste in women. Which is true, to be fair to the chap. He is, however, responsible for his mouth. 'I like who I like and I don't have to answer to the court of taste,' he said, before adding that he probably was 'not the best catch either. Fifty-year-old women do not see me either!' he told the station. 'They have something else to do than to get around a neurotic who writes and reads all day long. It's not easy to be with me.' No shit?
That fine character actor W Morgan Sheppard had died at the age of eighty six. William Morgan Sheppard appeared in the 2011 Doctor Who episodes The Impossible Astronaut and Day Of The Moon playing the older version of former-FBI agent Canton Everett Delaware III. The younger version of the character was played by his son, Mark Sheppard. Although he spent the last three decades of his career working in the US, William was actually born in London and trained at RADA. He spent twelve years as an associate artist with the Royal Shakespeare Company, appeared on Broadway in Marat/Sade (1966) and in Sherlock Holmes (1975). He won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for The Homecoming in 1995. William had a strong connection with science fiction, appearing in both Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager as well as two of the popular franchise's movies, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and the 2009 reboot Star Trek. He appeared in two roles in Babylon 5 whilst probably his best known role was as Blank Reg in the 1980s comedy Max Headroom. In the movies Gettysburg and Gods & Generals he played the Confederate general Isaac Trimble. As well as Doctor Who also he appeared alongside his son in an episode of NCIS as well as the 2010 movie Mysterious Island. William's lengthy and impressive CV also included appearances in New Scotland Yard, Marked Personal, Crown Court, Churchill's People, The Sweeney, Minder, Z Cars, The New Avengers, Target, London Belongs To Me, When The Boat Comes In, The Cedar Tree, Enemy At The Door, Out, The Professionals, Play For Today, Shōgun, Hammer House Of Horror, The Flame Trees of Thika, C.A.T.S Eye, MacGuyer, Quantum Leap, Murder, She Wrote, Frasier, Biker Mice From Mars, American Gothic, Timecop, JAG, Days Of Our Lives, Charmed, Gilmore Girls, Criminal Minds, Mad Men and Dexter and the movies The Duellist, Hawk The Slayer, The Elephant Man, The Doctor & The Devils, Cry Freedom and The Prestige. With his deep, gravelly voice William was also much in demand as a voice-over artist, particularly in video game production.
Eric Haydock, the former bassist with one of yer actual Keith Telly Topping's favourite popular beat combos of the 1960s, The Hollies, has died aged seventy five, the band have announced. The Manchester-based group confirmed reports of Haydock's death on Facebook with a touching post written by drummer Bobby Elliot. 'Sadly, Eric passed away peacefully at his home yesterday [6 January, 2019],' the post read. 'In the earlier 1960's Eric was one of the finest bass players on the planet. Along with Tony, Eric and I were the rhythm section that created the springboard for Clarke, Hicks and Nash to launch that famous three-ways Hollies harmony. On the early package tours, Dave Clark, The Kinks and artists of the period would watch from the wings as we effortlessly rocked the screaming theatre audiences into a frenzy. Although Eric left The Hollies in 1966, I occasionally listen enthralled by our BBC and Abbey Road recording sessions and dear Eric masterfully playing his six string bass. Happy days.' Eric was a founder member of The Hollies (originally The Delats) along with Allan Clarke and Graham Nash in 1962 and appeared on all of their early Sixties EMI recordings. One of the first British musicians to play a six-string Fender Bass VI, he performed on all of the band's early hit singles including 'Just One Look', 'Stay', 'I'm Alive', 'Look Through Any Window' and 'I Can't Let Go'. Eric left the group in 1966, reportedly over a dispute with the band's management and was replaced by Bernie Calvert. In the - really rather good - 2011 documentary Look Through Any Window, both Nash and Elliott suggested that, at least in part, Eric's decision to leave was due to touring exhaustion and a wish settle down and live a normal life. Clarke once said of Haydock: 'Eric was a great guy; he lifted our spirits when we were down, he was the joker. But he was also very deep. As one of our sleeve notes said, Eric Haydock is an enigma. He never wanted to say anything to anybody. He just wanted to get up and play bass.' After leaving The Hollies Haydock formed his own RnB band, Haydock's Rockhouse, which failed to find success. He took part in a 1981 Hollies reunion for Top Of The Pops. In 2010, Haydock, Allan Clarke, Graham Nash, Tony Hicks, Bobby Elliot, Bernie Calvert and Terry Sylvester were all inducted into The Rock and/or Roll Hall of Famous.